MISCELLANEOUS

Directive to States on plan to check monkey menace

NEW DELHI, MARCH 17. The Supreme Court today directed all the States to submit within seven weeks their response to an action plan filed by the Government to control and prevent monkey menace in cities and towns. The plan suggests a legal ban on feeding of monkeys to dissuade people from encouraging these animals to stay in urban areas.

The Action Plan for Control of Stray Animal Menace prepared by Ministry of Environment and Forests was placed before a Bench, comprising Justice Y. K. Sabharwal and Justice D. M. Dharmadhikari.

After perusing the action plan, originally prepared to tackle the monkey menace in Delhi and Shimla, the Bench asked all the State Governments to give their response on why such an action plan should not be implemented. The States were asked to say how much time they needed to implement the plan; who would be the implementing authority and whether any other measures needed to be incorporated in the Action Plan. The strategy for enticing the monkeys away from the urban areas and their habitation in conservation reserves would need to be supplemented by a legal ban on public feeding of monkeys. The plan said: "It can be in the form of a municipal regulation by the local municipality. This would also envisage a close involvement of the temple authorities. It would be an integrated strategy of enlisting their cooperation in regulating the system of food offerings by the devotees to only one fixed place so that the scattered food in various places is not available for monkeys."

Other measures suggested including steps to prevent monkeys from biting human beings and sneaking into residential houses and damaging household articles. The action plan recommended sterilisation to reduce the monkey population, relocation of monkeys from urban areas to forest lands after their immunisation to prevent the spread TB among the wildlife and improvement in the disposal of solid waste.

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